Ryan Lambert

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Edmonton Oilers dumpster fire edition

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]    

    8. Dallas Eakins

    What happened?

    It was, what, like a week and a half prior to Dallas Eakins' dismissal that Craig MacTavish said that firing the coach wasn't really a feasible option for the club right now?

    The obvious and logical question many had at that point, then, was, “What changed?”

    Now, given his earlier comments (and, rather bizarrely, those in the “I just fired a guy” presser that followed) about whether Dallas Eakins was particularly to blame for these losses or indeed the current state of the entire team — specifically: He was not — the decision to fire him came as a bit of a shock.

    Boss: “Hey Steve I heard your work truck caught on fire?”

    Steve: “That seems bad. But what are you gonna do, right?”

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Omaha keeps rolling; Game cancelled for the flu?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    (Ed. Note: Ryan Lambert is our resident NCAA Hockey nut, and we decided it’s time to unleash his particular brand of whimsy on the college game every week. So NCAA HOCKEY 101 will run every Tuesday on Puck Daddy. Educate yo self.)    

    A few weeks ago in this space, there was a look at the season Omaha had enjoyed to that point. Essentially, the takeaway was that the Mavericks had won a lot of games, but the underlying numbers all suggested that they shouldn't have been as successful as they were. 

    But what's been interesting is that over these last three weeks or so, they've suffered a bit of a bumpier road: they went up to Grand Forks and took just a point from North Dakota (they actually won the first game in a shootout but for all intents and purposes other than NCHC standings, which I don't care about, it was a draw), they split at Miami, then swept St. Cloud in Omaha.

    Whether they'll actually deserve to be there is another matter entirely.

    UMass adds Ducks second-rounder Montour

    The list of grim statistics go on and on, but first and foremost is the fact that their team goaltending has delivered unto them a save percentage of just .865 this year.

  • What We Learned: Is Nashville a giant tease or playoff threat?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    Most observers of this league can probably agree that one of the big surprises so far this season has been the overwhelming and frankly shocking success of the Nashville Predators.

    Here we are in mid-December and the Preds, with a new coach and very much retooled roster, are putting together a very convincing case that they will be making the playoffs with relative ease in another four months' time. Most predictions for Conference III specifically probably would have put them a little bit outside the top-3, logically behind Chicago and St. Louis, and maybe Dallas — woefully disappointing Dallas — and even Minnesota. Put another way, “on the outside looking in” was probably a reasonable place to put their playoff hopes.

    But at this point, even if they go .500 the rest of the way, the likelihood that they miss the playoffs isn't as big as it probably should be given the on-paper talent. This is a team using Colin Wilson as its No. 2 center, and say what you want about his season (it's been okay!) but that doesn't typically portend “Western Conference heavyweight.”

    What We Learned

    Chicago Blackhawks: I think Patrick Kane is good. Man oh man.

    Play of the Weekend

  • A stagnant cap would change the entire league (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 days ago

    NHL officials love to say that the league has a lot of parity in it but that's not necessarily true.

    There's a lot of forced parity, of course, because three-point games necessarily inflate teams' totals at the end of the season, and sometimes even help bad teams make the playoffs when they absolutely should not do so in a just universe. But real parity? Look at the last several Cup winners and try to tell anyone with a straight face that this is a league where anyone can win.

    There also probably isn't a whole lot the league itself can do to engender any kind of actual parity that ensures the Haves of the past few years can, in some way, be caught up by the Have Nots. Fortunately, though, the global economy might unwittingly intervene on behalf of everyone who isn't Chicago and Los Angeles.

    Gary Bettman this week told the Board of Governors that he expects the salary cap for next season to come in at around $73 million . That's up $4 million from the current $69 million, and should give a lot of teams more added flexibility than they current have right now. And a lot of teams need it.  

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Will top powers come together in time?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

    (Ed. Note: Ryan Lambert is our resident NCAA Hockey nut, and we decided it’s time to unleash his particular brand of whimsy on the college game every week. So NCAA HOCKEY 101 will run every Tuesday on Puck Daddy. Educate yo self.)    

    One thing you can set your watch to in college hockey is that Boston College and Michigan are going to be good pretty much every year.

    That really hasn't been the case so far this season; the Eagles are a game above .500 at 8-7-1, and Michigan recently needed a spate of games against some serious cupcakes (AIC, RPI, Ohio State) to get to the, ahem, lofty record of 8-6. It has, understandably, been something of a headscratcher for the college hockey punditry. How could two teams with so much talent on paper, and such quality coaching staffs, be so deeply mediocre?

    Is it just one of those things that can happen when you've only played 14 or 16 games? Or is it indicative of deeper problems? The answer, unfortunately for both the teams in question and observers trying to figure it out, is “both.”

    Maybe no one's really great

    Hockey East at the break

    Robert Morris running away with it

    7.     Miami (split with Omaha)

     

  • What We Learned: Waiting for the Calgary Flames crash

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    So the Calgary Flames are good, and no one saw that coming.

    How could they? This is a team with maybe four players that other teams would really and truly step over their grandmothers to acquire; a team that spent most of the summer pegged as being a lock to spend the year in the league's basement.

    But a check of the standings here in early December shows Calgary as being very comfortably in a Western Conference playoff spot, and sitting with losses in the single digits through 28 games. It seems impossible, and yet here we are.

    Put another way: The Flames are winning, with regularity, but they shouldn't be.

    Already this season, the Flames have entered the third period trailing 13 times, and they've somehow come back to win six of those games. By comparison, the Oilers are in the same ballpark, and have even been able to extend any such game to overtime just once (they, of course, lost).

    Two things, actually:

    What We Learned

    Play of the Weekend

  • Boston Bruins have problems, most of them self-created (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 days ago

    Heading into Thursday night's game in San Jose -- a 7-4 loss to the Sharks -- the Boston Bruins were slumping. They'd won just one of their last five games, and their offense had been anemic. Six goals in 310 minutes of hockey, while allowing 11.  

    If you allow 11 goals in 310 minutes, you should reasonably expect to come out with a lot more than three points, but alas, the Bruins cannot muster any sort of meaningful run support for poor Tuukka Rask. This, in a nutshell, has been the Bruins' problem all year.

    Last year, the Bruins finished third in the league with 3.15 goals per game. During the lockout-shortened season they finished 13th at 2.65 per. The year before, they were tied for second at 3.17. And before that they were fifth at 2.98. For years, then, the Bruins have been a dominant offensive force over any given 82-game period. Ahead of the San Jose game, though, the offense was just 23rd in the league at just 2.35 goals per game, one spot and two-hundredths of a goal ahead of the pitiable Carolina Hurricanes.

    What they don't have, near as anyone can tell these days, is someone who can actually put the puck in the net with any kind of reliability.

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Kings’ Voynov fine; Norris Trophy; Marty Brodeur

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 14 days ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]  

    10,243. The Kings 

    Morally, a $100,00 fine was too good for them.

    For some idiotic reason, the Kings thought it would be a good idea to let Slava Voynov, who is suspended by the league from all team activities, and also carrying some rather grave domestic violence charges, practice with his club.

    Because he practiced.

    With his team.

    We know now that they do not. They respect victims here about as much as the NFL does, which is to say: Not at all. 

    7. Norris voting

    As a general rule, I don't put a lot of stock into the stat GVT (“goals versus threshold”) because it is extremely imperfect and quirky. It will spit out all kinds of weird numbers that make you wonder what the hell is happening.

    6. The Guarantee Pt. 2

  • What We Learned: After Subban failure, Montreal GM passes test

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 16 days ago

    (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    Before you go around heaping praise all over a GM for doing something that's seemingly part of the job description, you have to take note of how often such a simple thing such as “signing your young stars to reasonable deals” gets punted.

    Ask Marc Bergevin.

    It's really not so long ago that he was heavily and rightly criticized for signing PK Subban to a silly bridge contract that ended with him getting paid $9 million against the cap for each of the next eight years. Yeah, that's market value, and yeah the Habs got two years of Norris-quality prime years for the low, low AAV of $2.875 million. But let's not forget they could have locked him in for the last two seasons plus three or four more for closer to $5.5 million and did not do so.

    But charged as he is with stewardship of this team, one has to praise his approach.

    Great? I don't know; they probably need a little more help on the back end. But the building blocks are there.

    Signoff

  • New York Islanders are indeed this good (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 19 days ago

    You would have to agree that over the last few weeks the New York Islanders have been more than a little bit lucky.

    After all, no team is “win 10 games out of 11” good under normal circumstances, but here we are with them having done it. Further to that point, they've gone to overtime or a shootout in five of those games, and come out winners every time. So clearly, they're getting the bounces.

    But having seen some stuff this week that expressed some amount of incredulity that the Islanders — the New York Islanders, for god's sake! — are currently sitting out point out of the top spot in the league, and tied for the largest point total in the Eastern Conference. This of course turns the hockey we've known it more or less since the turn of the century on its head, because as we all understand in our bones that the Islanders are meant to be the dross of the Metropolitan née Atlantic division.

    Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here .

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY